What is an Executor?

The Role of Executor

Your Executor is responsible for the entire administration of your estate and for carrying out your wishes in accordance with your Will.  The appointment of your Executor is entirely up to you; however it is important you remember that acting as an Executor of a Will can be extremely complex.


While being an Executor may sound simple, it can be an extremely onerous, complex, drawn out and time consuming task involving an understanding of  law, tax and accounting requirements, all at a time when you may be least able to cope with the additional pressure and stress.

 You can download a copy of our Executor responsibilities here.


What happens when I appoint the Public Trustee as my Executor?

If you have prepared your Will with the Public Trustee you have nominated the Public Trustee be your Executor.  This means we will be responsible for administering your estate and your loved ones will not be burdened with this task.  The Public Trustee will write to your family confirming we hold the last Will for you and will administer your estate according to your wishes.

Can the executor be responsible if something happens to the assets?

Potentially yes.  It is important for the Executor to ensure that all assets including property, collectibles and investments are safe and to arrange insurance protection if needed.

Do I need to prepare a tax return for the estate if I am appointed Executor?

Before an estate can be distributed, it is necessary to obtain clearance from the Australian Taxation Office.

The Executor bears the responsibility for the deceased’s final year tax return, for any prior year returns, for payment of tax assessed in respect of the final year and any tax debts in relation to prior years, as well as any tax penalties and interest owing to the Commissioner.

What if I am appointed Executor and I no longer want to do it?

The Public Trustee can take over the task from someone who has been nominated Executor by a friend or family member and who does not want to take on that responsibility. If you are in this situation please contact the Public Trustee for more information on 1800 068 784 or make an appointment online.

Nothing was too difficult, they put everything into layman’s terms and made it a relaxed, enjoyable experience.  At such a sad time it was wonderful to be treated with such courtesy.  A pleasant, friendly personal experience at a difficult time.  Great staff.